If you download the Matroska link to the right, you will get a mkv-file with optional subtitles, which you can play with a vlc-player on your computer.
King Frederick II (aka "Frederick the Great") of Prussia is engaged in a major battle against the Austrian army at Kunersdorf, and things aren't going well. The Austrians are inflicting major casualties, and his army is beginning to crumble. Defeat seems inevitable when a combination of events gives him hope that he may pull victory from the jaws of defeat after all.
Filmed at the height of Nazi Germany’s triumph, in late 1940 and early 1941, The Great King was Germany’s most ambitious film to date. Both Goebbels and Hitler were fascinated by Frederick the Great, and had frequently invoked him in their propaganda as a proto-National Socialist hero, in terms calculated to enhance Hitler’s own prestige and authority. The Great King extended this myth-making onto the plane of grand movie spectacle. Amidst vividly realized battle scenes, Frederick is shown rallying his armies back from crushing defeat, leading Prussia’s way to brilliant triumph in the Seven Years War. His generals counsel capitulation, and his subjects succumb to despair. But Frederick soldiers on; his strength of will is Prussia’s safeguard and salvation. The film’s concluding montage underscores this message, showing an omniscient Frederick, his gigantic eyes looming over homeland and people, in an unmistakable reference to Germany’s own Führer. Yet what seems most striking about The Great King today are its frank depictions of popular war-weariness and complaint, served up by the everyday Prussians – miller’s daughters and foot soldiers – who foreground the film’s storyline. Otto Gebühr, who had long specialized in Frederick roles on screen and stage, plays the lead; director Harlan’s wife, the inimitable Kristina Söderbaum, the miller’s daughter. Directed by Veit Harlan; music by Hans-Otto Borgmann; featuring Otto Gebühr, Kristina Söderbaum, and Gustav Frölich.
It would be nice if we could view the German historical epic Der Grosse Koenig (The Great King) objectively. This is, after all, a sweeping biography of Friedrich the Great, tracing the life of the fabled Prussian leader from his early setbacks to his ultimate victory over the Austrians at the end of the Seven Years' War. This is the heroic stuff from which greats films are made (vide Lawrence of Arabia, El Cid et. al.) However: Der Grosse Koenig was filmed at the behest of Nazi minister-of-Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, and directed by Veidt Harlan, the man responsible for that most-reprehensible of anti-Semitic films, Jud Suss. Thus, it isn't surprising that the film utilizes the historical facts at its disposal to prime the pumps for the Third Reich. Playing the title role is Paul Wegener, who during the Hitler regime was named Actor of the State, and who like Harlan compromised his talent on behalf of Der Fatherland. Der Grosse Koenig won the Venice Film Festival Award and the Mussolini prize, though odds are the contests were fixed. On the strength of Der Grosse Koening, Veidt Harlan was assigned to direct the infamous money-squandering propaganda picture Kollberg, which in its own spendthrift way contributed to the ultimate downfall of Nazi Germany.